Dozens of fed-up commuters have written to Nicola Sturgeon and her transport secretary to complain about the standard of service on Scotland’s railways.
In the space of two months last year 83 people wrote to the Scottish Government to explain how “scunnered” they were with the “abysmal” rail service they had been subjected to.
The messages, released under Freedom of Information laws, are a catalogue of complaints to Ms Sturgeon and transport secretary Michael Matheson about ScotRail, including routinely late, cancelled or overcrowded services.
One email stated: “We are thoroughly scunnered with this abysmal service.” Another added: “It is like we have gone back to the dark ages.”
Another fed-up traveller said: “ScotRail are making false promises and apologies from them are worthless.”
The emails were received in November and December 2018 and released to the Scottish Conservatives.
The party’s transport spokesman Jamie Greene said: “These emails to the First Minister highlight the devastating effects of Scotland’s appalling train service on the travelling public.
“Commuters are regularly subjected to late, cancelled and overcrowded trains at an extremely high financial and personal cost.
“It is astonishing that the SNP government is still failing to ensure that travellers receive a decent service.
“Despite these letters, and the myriad reports of ScotRail failing to reach its targets, Nicola Sturgeon’s government has done nothing to improve train travel in Scotland.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour said ScotRail’s performance had plummeted further to breach the company’s contract with the Scottish Government.
The beleaguered operator’s Public Performance Measure (PPM) across 2018/19 sunk to 87.4%, below a breach level of 87.56 % and well short of the 92.5% target set out in the contract.
A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “It’s wholly understandable that many passengers are unhappy with ScotRail’s performance, particularly in the east of the country. As has been stated many times, including at FMQs this week, Ministers fully expect performance to improve at the earliest opportunity to meet Franchise and regulatory targets, and that can only be achieved by delivering strong performance now - ScotRail has been made aware of the necessity for them to meet these expectations.
“If ScotRail does not deliver its contractual commitments in the Remedial Agreement, it runs the risk of the franchise being terminated early. ScotRail recently committed an extra £18 million to improve improvements for customers to tackle train crew and train fleet challenges, along with initiatives to support performance improvement.”